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OpenStreetMap Toolbox

1 Introduction

Welcome to the OpenStreetMap toolbox! This toolbox is designed to guide you step by step in using OpenStreetMap in your humanitarian and development projects.

OpenStreetMap is a free, open and collaborative mapping platform that allows anyone to edit, update and detail maps around the world. It is an invaluable tool for humanitarian and development organizations that often struggle to find complete and up-to-date maps of their areas of intervention.

This toolbox will provide you with tutorials and tips on how to use OpenStreetMap and the many mapping tools from its rich ecosystem. The toolkit will provide you with valuable guidance on how to map remotely and in the field, produce quality data, improve existing data, and extract and visualize that data. In addition, this toolkit will help you integrate OpenStreetMap mapping data with other user-friendly mapping tools and software commonly used in the humanitarian and development sectors with which you can create your own maps.

This toolkit is intended to be as accessible as possible, so you don’t need to be a mapping expert to get started with OpenStreetMap.

How to use it ?

This toolbox is divided into 4 sections:

Each section offers first an approach for beginners and then an approach for those who want to go a little further.

If you are new to OSM, it is best to go through the first two sections Getting started with OSM and Mapping with OSM from your computer so that you can get to grips with the next two sections.

However, if you have already mastered certain basics, several sections and sub-sections of the toolbox can be consulted independently of each other, in particular the tool tutorials, according to your needs.

This toolbox often refers to the Mobile Data Collection Toolbox for the OSM mapping from the field section and to the GIS Toolbox for the Making maps with OSM section.

In addition to this toolbox, you can access other carefully designed resources that are available online:

  • Comprehensive toolboxes produced by HOT (HOT Toolbox and LearnOSM) and UN Mappers (Learning Hub).
  • Video tutorials presenting OSM tools for humanitarian mapping at a distance and in the field to be discovered on the Youtube channels of HOT and UN Mappers.


This toolbox was compiled, put together and translated by the CartONG participatory mapping team and its community of volunteers.

Created in 2006, CartONG is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) specialised in Information Management whose mission is to put data at the service of humanitarian, development and social action projects. We are dedicated to improving the quality and accountability of field activities, in particular through improved needs assessments and monitoring and evaluation. As a multidisciplinary resource and expertise centre, we support the strategies and operations of our partners. Our teams also support the sector by producing documentation, building capacity and raising awareness of the technical, strategic and ethical challenges of digital technologies.

This toolbox was created as part of the project “Strengthening French-speaking Civil Society Organizations’ (CSOs) program data management” led by CartONG and co-financed by the French Development Agency (AFD). For more information, please refer to the article published on our website or contact us by email.


This toolbox is supported by the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement - AFD). Nevertheless, the ideas and opinions presented in this toolbox do not necessarily represent those of AFD.

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This toolbox was designed using resources from and The Noun Project.